Council planners approve frack site

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FRACKING operations at a site in Lancashire are set to be approved in a ruling which could have a wider impact on Wigan shale gas plans.

Planning officials at Lancashire County Council (LCC) will give a green light to shale company Cuadrilla to develop new sites between Preston and Blackpool.

The approval is subject to a number of conditions being met, the council added, although an application for another site has been rejected.

Several energy companies hold licences covering areas of the borough but any fracking operations would require local authority approval.

But the decision north of the borough’s boundaries could serve as a test case for energy companies hoping for council approval.

And Lancashire’s decision comes a week after Labour leadership contender and Leigh MP Andy Burnham raised concerns about potential fracking plans in the borough.

Calling for more stringent safety checks, he said: “In my area, we are riddled with mine shafts as a former mining area. Where is the evidence that it is safe to come and frack a place like this?”

Cuadrilla submitted revised plans to LCC after planning officers recommended refusal for both sites in January for different reasons.

The conditions attached to the approval decision include controlling time limits, hours of working, control of noise and highway matters.

Opponents say the fracking process causes earthquakes and pollutes water supplies.